Keane warns reserve team players that they have to improve

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane today warned a number of his players that their futures at Portman Road could be limited.

Keane has 21 players who could leave the club by the summer and he watched a number of them on Tuesday when Town were beaten 2-1 by Luton Town in a Combination fixture at Playford Road.

“It was very disappointing,” said Keane.

“A number are due a reality check over the new few months – particularly those whose contracts run out at the end of the season.

“They have a lot to do if they want to be footballers at any level.

“We rewarded seven scholars with one year contracts at the end of last season, but they have not come on.

“I told them that they would be in the big league now and they would not have academy manager Sammy Morgan and coach Gerard Nash putting their arms around them any more.

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“They are in the big world now – they’ve got to earn themselves a living.

“Jack Ainsley has gone on loan to Blue Square Premier Histon and he’s already had a reality check.

“It’ll be an interesting few months for a number of players – there is no problem with effort, but you’ve got to win football matches and when you get in a winning position see it through.”

Keane exonerated Colin Healy and Ronan Murray from blame and they could feature at Preston tomorrow with Mark Kennedy having an outside chance of flying up with the squad to Blackpool today.

“We have sorted out Mark’s back problem that has not helped his run on hamstring problems, but we do not want to rush him however important his experience is to the team,” added Keane.

Gareth McAuley is out until late January and Connor Wickham for a while yet while Luke Hyam is still recovering from a hamstring problem.

Marton Fulop is still restricted in training by an ankle knock, but Darren O’Dea is fine with his partner having given birth to a daughter Lucia this week. Skipper David Norris has recovered from illness and will return.

Andros Townsend became the 300th Town player to score for the club since 1936/37 when he netted against Swansea last Saturday and either he, Jack Colback or one of the front two may have to make way for Norris.

Referee Eddie Ilderton took charge at Deepdale in April 2008 when Town were still in line to reach the play-offs and ruled out what turned out to be a perfectly good goal by Pablo Counago in a 2-2 draw. Ilderton has since refereed Ipswich cup wins over Blackpool and Northampton.

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